Fierce Body Nourishment: 5 Gentle Steps.
As a teen, I survived a very personal war. The two opponents of this war were equally powerful forces: mind vs. body.
It was an inner battle that raged night and day, interrupting my life in ways I’d never wanted or wished for, wreaking havoc on nearly every aspect of daily routine with unwavering bloodshed.
I wanted perfection and control, yet I was simply a child trapped inside invisible bars of self-imprisonment, and I was therefore never in control at all. My body was my given home of limbs, nerves and organs, yet somehow through the self-imposed pains of my youth, it’d become an ugly enemy.
I deprived myself for too long, failing to recognize that the actual enemy was my eating disorder, and so while I raged war on my body, my eating disorder was silently killing my life.
Fortunately, that dark spiral downward landed me into the safety net of a hospital with an entire floor dedicated to teenage girls and food. Weeks later, when I was fully released back into the world with a stable heartbeat and weight, I felt I’d been thrown into the deep end of the turbulent beginning to an upstream swim, and if I didn’t develop a healthy relationship with my body, then I would surely drown in my own storm.
You cannot divorce or disown your body or food, so the daily practice of healing from a disorder involving these two things is a fairly massive endeavor.
Years of ups and downs, successes and failures peppered with nutritional and mental counseling enabled me to see through the complete destruction of my self-imposed limits, societal conditioning, and nasty patterns of thought. Setting fire to these ideas and watching them burn, as with most recoveries, just took time.
Not surprisingly, my experience led me into the field of holistic health, and soon enough, I found myself on the opposite end, standing in utter fascination of these superbly intelligent vessels of ours; vessels that are intriguingly such a a mystery to so many of us, though we’ve been living inside them all our waking lives.
When navigating wellness, wholeness, fullness, and vitality, it really all equates to simple and ongoing nourishment, and nourishment is essentially the quickest route to a greater understanding of ourselves, which leads to greater understanding of all other things.
Choosing to nourish your body from the inside out should be a fiercely decisive choice, but never drastic or highly uncomfortable. In fact, it can actually be quite gentle in an extraordinarily powerful way.
I now offer you these steps based on my own experience, which rode the wave of wellness from the nightmarishly invasive misunderstandings I once knew, to the great love and respect of the body I have today.
Step 1: Listen to your cells.
It’s a curious thing, how we all are born into bodies that pulse with ancient wisdom yet we forget over time, how to listen to their subtle signals. We’ll follow countless programs and strict regimes in a grand attempt to navigate our way through self-care, yet physical and mental disease surrounding food still runs rampant because we are neglecting to listen.
Your body is constantly sending signals of physical or emotional distress to your mind, and vice versa. Rather than completely disregarding these whispers by using various numbing tactics, take the time to tune in and listen, as every cell is always speaking.
The body just knows.
Step 2: Think in terms of oneness, not separate parts.
“The part can never be well until the whole is well.” ~ Plato
See your body as the connected field of energy it is, rather than a fixed, material thing with separate parts. Everything that happens in one area of the body affects all other areas. Our emotions from all experiences become stored inside of our cell tissue, and if ignored early on, will only resurface later in one way or another, often more stubborn and concentrated.
Try and be mindful of your thoughts and notice if anything feels tight. The body wants to heal itself but often needs your light assistance.
Step 3: Remember that we are essentially nature.
We are not separate from the pulse and wisdom of the natural world as our bodies are always in direct connection with the energies of this planet. Every one of us mimics the earth with our daily and seasonal cycles, and we’re comprised of the very same elements.
Place your hands into soil to feel grounded. Wade in water to feel emotionally healed. Fill your lungs with fresh air to feel mentally clear. Raise your face to the heat of the sun and connect with that fire to feel your own immense power.
Step 4: Accept your body’s moods and fluctuations.
Our bodies are constantly changing. There are weeks when we’ll feel vibrant and alive. There are weeks when we’ll feel achy and stiff. We need to do the best we can with honoring ourselves each day by noticing what is happening without judgement, then continue to do all we can to re-balance and renew.
The body knows what it loves and what it loves most are gentle yet powerful things, same as the way we must care for it.
It loves things like the space between a look and a kiss. It loves things like the release of memory stirred from a scent. It loves rocking of any kind, slow rhythmic rocking it can sigh along with.
It loves the rise and fall of the sun’s comings and goings, constant and consistent in announcing days and nights. It loves other bodies, their skin, and hands and heartbeats.
It loves the curves of waves and sand underfoot. It loves the caress of cool sheets, intense pursuit, and silent solitude. It loves curiosity and goosebumps and song and virtue. It loves foods grown from the ground and fluid movement and rest. It loves to protect, to thrive, to harmonize, to taste and feel blessed.
Our bodies are both wildly powerful and frighteningly vulnerable, reflective of our human souls.
Let’s honor, polish and carry them well, my friends, because fierce bodily nourishment is truly one of the greatest and most noble things ever worth fighting for.